About a year ago, someone asked me if I sell any of the products I recommend on NegligentGardener.com. I had to tell them no, and that they could follow the links in the articles to Amazon. The idea of direct selling some products started me wondering, though.
If I was going to venture into a garden products shop, I had to find items that I love. They would have to be quality products because no one wants to buy something that breaks in the first week. They had to be readily available so that I could maintain an inventory. Did I mention that I had to love them and use them? That to me was the biggest requirement.
Little by little I warmed to the idea. I found the first products and ordered samples to ensure they were of high quality. I started selling to friends who were happy with the quality as well. In my other life, I sell other people’s products (https://theaegisarray.com/manufacture-sales/) so the concept wasn’t an uncomfortable one. I just hadn’t used a website to offer my products. Could I really do this?
About six months ago, with encouragement from friends and family, I began the web site design for a potential shop. Once I had the bones done, it was a matter of testing it. Then other work got in the way, you know how that goes. My hopes of having it ready for September in time for Christmas were dashed. October and November were fraught with tough decisions about which products to offer and which ones just didn’t make the cut. All of this meant that it wasn’t until the first week in December that it finally went fully live. Woo hoo! Happy Dance!
In honor of this milestone, I wanted to introduce you to the products we offer and also ask for your feedback on future products we could add.
If I was only going to offer one or two products, the hori hori knife HAD to be one of them. As you know, I’ve gushed about this hand tool in a previous blog (check it out at Hori-Hori Knife: The Quintessential Planting Tool.)
This garden knife is a must have for planting season. The knife we offer is the same one I’ve been using for many years so it certainly stands up to abuse. And by abuse, I mean I have used it to plant hundreds of vegetable seedlings, annuals, and even bulbs. I’ve used it to dig out annuals in the fall, to cut open bags of mulch or potting soil, and chop off roots that may invade my planting hole. This knife is strong and it’s sharp.
The knife that I’m offering also has a sheath that you can wear on your belt. Especially during planting time, you could keep it handy at all times.
I never thought I’d find the RIGHT Hori Hori to offer, but this is THE one.
Yes, this is the other product I HAD to offer. And once I found the Hori Hori, it was easier to find the weeding sickle that I wanted. I spend most of the summer months with this hand tool. In fact, I start using it in early spring when the weeds start poking through the flower beds. I’ll always have my Hori Hori nearby for those deep rooted weeds, but mostly it’s this sickle that carries most of the weeding load. I even found a left-handed version which I didn’t even know they made! Now my left-handed friends can come to my house and help me weed—no more excuses!
The sharp tip of this tool works great right at the edge of beds where I have metal edging. The weeds love to cuddle up to that metal and the point of the sickle can do some pretty fine work when you need it. Place the entire blade against the surface of the soil when the soil is dry, and you can scrape the top of the weeds right off using a back and forth motion.
As with the hori hori, if you want a more detailed description of how well this tool works, you can go to my blog (Best Hand Tool for Weeding Raised Beds). The sickle I’m offering in The Negligent Gardener Shop is once again the same one I’ve been using for many years. One by one, I’ve been converting my friends, and they are loving it too.
I haven’t even started to write about my recent bonsai adventures and these small shears have been at the forefront. The design is made for comfort and typical of what you might see bonsai practitioners use for finer pruning.
I like these because they are inexpensive, they are well-made, they are sharp, and they are very comfortable to use. Right now, these have seen action on my houseplants and small bonsai trees. I used to use kitchen shears, but the smaller size of these trimming shears makes it easier to do the detail pruning and trimming. Now I only use my kitchen shears when root pruning, such as when I prune the roots of my amaryllis.
The handles allow plenty of room even if you have larger hands, and are made of a soft plastic which is a much better feel than the scissors I was using. Did I mention they are comfortable?
If you’ve read my blog on hand tools, then you know about the Speedy Sharp. Keep this little sharpener in your pocket and use it to touch up the edges on your tools. When I spend a few hours weeding, I’ll touch up the edge of my weeding sickle at least once or twice an hour.
This handy little item doesn’t replace a major sharpening (the kind that I coerce my husband into doing on the bench grinder), but it is so easy to use, it should be required for every gardener. Ever used a sharpening steel like a chef to touch up your kitchen knives before you use them? That’s what the Speedy Sharp is for. You shouldn’t be using more muscle when you weed, touch up the blade and let the tool do more of the work.
I was relieved to find a source for these plant ties. Almost every spring, I ended up going from store to store looking for the right ones. I use these on any plant that needs support. This morning I used it on my amaryllis flower stalk that was leaning over. During the growing season, I use them on tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash. Anything that needs to be trellised or just given a little help against the wind, like my larger peppers, I reach for these foam covered ties. If there is one thing I hate, it’s ties that damage the plants. I haven’t had any problem with these over the years and I’m so glad I can now offer them in the Shop.
I also added a couple of skin care products because, once again, I truly love this stuff.
Over the years, haven’t we all tried different hand cleansers trying to find our favorites? I’d try a new one, would only moderately like the scent, and then have to use the entire bottle before getting another one. I mean, no one wants to be wasteful, right? The Citrus Grove Foaming Hand Soap was the one that converted me. The scent is a mix of citrus with lemon and lime being at the forefront, in my opinion. I love that it’s more of a blast of citrus instead of a gentle, barely-there scent. If you prefer foaming hand soaps because they don’t have the mess of liquids or bars, then you should give this one a try. You may get hooked like I am!
It’s related cousin is the Soothing Citrus Body Bar. In my house, we’ve used all kinds of commercial bar soaps because they were easy to get and cheap. Once I got a little older, I found that those commercial bars were a little too harsh and dried out my poor, aging skin. That’s when I went on the hunt for a bar that was more on the moisturizing side of clean. The scent is pleasant and lightly citrus. It’s made with a combination of several oils (olive, sunflower, and coconut among others). It also has shea butter in it which is also easy on the skin. No, it isn’t for scrubbing away the day’s garden dirt, but I love it for every day use because it is so mild.
What are the next items you’ll see in the Negligent Gardener Shop? Maybe you should let me know what you think of the choices below.
I have a kitchen compost bin that I’m using now which you may like as well. It’s plastic so it’s non-breakable. It’s larger than most though still can fit below the sink easily. I used to use those ceramic ones that were attractive so I set them on my kitchen counter. When they ended up breaking, of course due to my negligence, I replaced them with this one bin. I like it because it’s light and holds quite a bit of vegetable trimmings. Is this something that you would like to see in the shop?
I also tested out a long-handled tool that I now can’t do without. You could think of it as a weeding sickle with a long handle. It’s really made for fine work because the blade is rather small and slightly curved which makes it very maneuverable. There are lots of different long-handled weeding tools and I’ve used most of them. This one is in a league all it’s own. You won’t use this for clearing out an entire garden bed, but you can use it to get in between plants in a careful way. It is so sharp that it takes little effort to cut through weeds. I would say that if, for some reason, you’d rather not kneel down and use a smaller hand tool, you may consider this one instead. I’ve never seen this in stores so it would make sense to offer it here. So let me know if you think it is worth adding to the shop!
So welcome to the next phase in The Negligent Gardener journey. It’s been a joy to meet and talk to people around the world who share my love of gardening. Please comment below and let me know what else you’d like to see in the Shop!